10.26.20

Peters Speaks on Senate Floor Opposing Barrett Confirmation to Supreme Court

“This nominee will significantly impact the lives of Michiganders and folks all across our country.” “We know that the Supreme Court is set to shortly consider a case that has far-reaching ramifications for peoples’ health care…If the Trump Administration gets its way in this lawsuit - we could go back to the days when insurance companies once again call the shots on peoples’ health care.” “With all that’s at stake - Michiganders deserve a say in who nominates and confirms the next Justice to o

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today spoke on the Senate floor opposing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. In his remarks, Peters highlighted how over two million Michiganders have already voted and that Americans deserve to have a say in who nominates and confirms the next Justice to a lifetime appointment on our nation’s highest court. He stressed the far-reaching consequences of the Supreme Court, including the health care lawsuit pushed by the Trump Administration to overturn the Affordable Care Act and end protections for people with pre-existing health conditions that will be argued before the Supreme Court on November 10th. He also reiterated the need for the Senate to focus on passing comprehensive, meaningful and bipartisan relief for Michiganders struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This nominee will significantly impact the lives of Michiganders and folks all across our country,” said Senator Peters. “We know that the Supreme Court is set to shortly consider a case that has far-reaching ramifications for peoples’ health care. The Trump Administration is arguing in court that the Affordable Care Act should be overturned in a case that will come before the Supreme Court in November, just 7 days after Election Day."

“If the Trump Administration gets its way in this lawsuit – we could go back to the days when insurance companies once again call the shots on peoples’ health care.”

“…With all that’s at stake – Michiganders deserve a say in who nominates and confirms the next Justice to our nation’s highest court. And the fact that Michiganders are being denied this opportunity is simply unacceptable. Therefore – I cannot support this nomination process – it should wait until a new President and Senate take office following an election to take place in only a few days. So for this reason and many others I will not be voting for Judge Barrett’s confirmation. I will cast a no vote.”

 201026_SCOTUSSpeech

You can watch Senator Peters’ remarks by clicking here. 

Peters previously delivered remarks on the Senate floor on Justice Ginsburg’s legacy, what’s at stake with this Supreme Court vacancy and the need to pass bipartisan COVID-19 relief. He previously announced his opposition to Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Below is Senator Peters’ remarks as delivered:

“Mr. President – I’d like to start by giving a quick history lesson. And I’ll begin with just two numbers.

“These two numbers speak to how extraordinary it is that we are here today debating and voting on a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The first number is four. That’s how many Supreme Court vacancies have arisen after July 1 and before Election Day in a Presidential election year.

“Only four times in the history of this country has a Supreme Court vacancy arisen within 4 months of a Presidential election.

“The next number I think is important to remember.

“And that number is zero. That’s how many times these vacancies were filled. In fact, similar to this vacancy, President Lincoln had a Senate majority when a vacancy arose just weeks before Election Day in 1864 – and what did he do? He chose to wait.

“President Lincoln thought nominating a justice so close to an election would delegitimize our institutions and harm the republic that he was fighting so hard to preserve.

“That’s the precedent that President Trump and Senate Republicans have disregarded – as they quickly plotted to fill this seat just hours – if not minutes – after Justice Ginsburg’s passing.

“In addition to breaking with historical precedent – Republicans are also jamming through their nomination in the middle of a pandemic that is gripping our country.

“Instead of prioritizing Michigan first responders, small businesses, workers, teachers and families and health care professionals that are still suffering through the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic – Senate Republicans and the President are instead laser-focused on jamming through a Supreme Court nominee for a lifetime appointment.

“This is more than just political gamesmanship – this nominee will significantly impact the lives of Michiganders and folks all across our country.

“We know that the Supreme Court is set to shortly consider a case that has far-reaching ramifications for peoples’ health care. The Trump Administration is arguing in court that the Affordable Care Act should be overturned in a case that will come before the Supreme Court in November, just 7 days after Election Day.

“If the Trump Administration gets its way in this lawsuit – we could go back to the days when insurance companies once again call the shots on peoples’ health care:

  • Over 4 million Michiganders with pre-existing health care conditions could be denied coverage;
  • Seniors could be charged more for prescription drugs;
  • Lifetime and annual limits on coverage could make costs unaffordable – and as a result force families into bankruptcy. Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act – medical debt was the number one reason for personal bankruptcy – people faced financial devastation simply because they got sick.
  • And women could again be charged more for being a woman because a potential pregnancy is a pre-existing condition.

“We have come way too far to be turning the clock backwards.

“For the Trump Administration to be pushing this lawsuit is reckless – and dangerous, especially during the worst public health and economic crisis in generations.

“But that’s not all that’s at stake:

  • A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and reproductive freedom is at stake;
  • Workers’ rights against corporate special interests are at stake;
  • Environmental justice is at stake;
  • Access to the ballot box is at stake;
  • Attempts to end the corrosive effect of money in campaigns and elections is at stake; and
  • LGBTQ rights are at stake.

“Those are some of the many issues that a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment will be ruling on – for decades to come. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination has extremely far-reaching consequences.

“We are just a few days from Election Day. Already over 2 million Michiganders have voted – and many more are voting as I speak here today. With all that’s at stake – Michiganders deserve a say in who nominates and confirms the next Justice to our nation’s highest court.

“And the fact that Michiganders are being denied this opportunity is simply unacceptable.

“Therefore – I cannot support this nomination process – it should wait until a new President and Senate take office following an election to take place in only a few days. So for this reason and many others I will not be voting for Judge Barrett’s confirmation. I will cast a no vote.

“So Mr. President, here we are.

“Instead of bringing folks together to find common ground on Coronavirus relief – our country is being forced to go through a divisive Supreme Court nomination process. It simply did not have to be this way.

“I continue to stand ready to roll up my sleeves and put together a comprehensive, bipartisan and meaningful COVID relief package.

“Ask any Michigander what they’re worried about today and you’re going to get the same answers from them: they’re worried about being able to put food on the table or a roof over their head. They’re worried about getting or keeping a job to support their families. They’re worried about catching a virus that has killed over 7,000 of their fellow Michiganders – and over 220,000 people all across our nation. They are worried if they survive a COVID infection it will compromise their health for the rest of their lives. They will have a pre-existing condition.

“So I ask – why isn’t this pandemic the Senate’s top priority right now?

“When we passed the CARES Act – we came together. We put politics aside and passed a real comprehensive package that helped keep millions of people stay afloat. We need to summon that spirit again – Michiganders are counting on us. Americans across this country are counting on us.

“Mr. President I implore my colleagues to drop what we are doing and let’s come together to pass a meaningful, bipartisan COVID relief package.

“And let’s get that done now.”

###